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Success Advice

Success Is Never Owned and Rent Is Due Everyday

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I coached the basketball team at the University of St. Francis for 34 years. In December of 1987 we went to the west coast to play the University of San Francisco. We were a small, liberal arts university in Joliet, Illinois. I would guess the players on that San Francisco team had never heard of us.

Although rare, it did happen that an NCAA Division I team would play a Division III or NAIA team. Without being said, the bigger school would get a WIN and the smaller school would receive a guarantee, a monetary stipend to offset their travel costs. 

We did accomplish the upset. We killed them as we beat them by one point! Although I have no idea why we won, I think there was a good reason for our victory. I believe the San Francisco players felt that they could show up, play the game, and get their win. It would be that simple.

“Whether You Think You Can Or Think You Can’t, You’re Right.” – Henry Ford

Better Than Us at Every Position

The San Francisco team had two 7 footers, a 6’8” power forward, two jet quick guards, and the last pick of the 1st round of that year’s NBA Draft. Our tallest player was 6’6” and there was no question but that they had better players than us at every position. However, we were a pretty solid team.

Their players knew they were better than us but they forgot success is never owned.They also felt they would not have to play very hard to beat a team most people had never heard of, but they forgot the rent is due everyday.

We got off to a good start and you could see that our players began to believe that we could play with these guys. We were up 2 points at half time. They came out the second half with much more determination and energy. They were playing especially hard the first 5 minutes of the half, but we equaled their mindset and gained more confidence as the game progressed.

“The Future Belongs To The Competent. Get Good, Get Better, Be The Best!” – Brian Tracy

The Life Lesson

The above lesson from athletics is also true in life. After experiencing success in any endeavor, you cannot rest on your laurels. How many successful businesses have failed because they forgot how they got there? Success can lead to arrogance and mental and physical laziness. Many organizations fail after they succeed because they think they own success and forget the rent is due everyday.

The bottom line is you never have it made; you must keep grinding and improving daily.

Pat Sullivan was a successful coach, teacher, and administrator in the Chicago area for 44 years – 10 years at the high school level and 34 at the collegiate level. His basketball teams won 602 games; he was named Coach-of-the-Year 11 times; and he has been inducted into 8 Halls of Fame. He has received Lifetime Achievement awards from Lewis University, the Joliet, Illinois, Chamber of Commerce, and the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. Pat has offered basketball clinics and camps in Austria, Ireland, Belgium, and Greece and has spoken at clinics throughout America for the USA Coaches Clinics. He has also spoken to business executives from IBM, Accenture, and Sun Microsystems, as well as the University of Notre Dame’s Play Like A Champion conference. He is the author of Attitude-The Cornerstone of Leadership and Team-Building: From the Bench to the Boardroom.

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